"Yeah, is it that obvious," you?"
He laughed shrugging "Junior. So what do you think of UCLA?"
"I like it, but I could do without my Statistics class," I said, grimacing.
"Who do you have?"
"Johnson," I said, making a face.
"Yeah, I heard he's a prick. I took stats last year, but I had Wilson who has mad-teaching skills. I can help you out if you want."
"That'd be great. I'm definitely going to need a little tutoring if I hope to pass the class."
"It's no problem. You pick the day and time and I'll be there. What's your major?"
"Um, I'm doing dual," I said, taking a deep swig of beer. "Art and education."
"Sweet, so you want to be an art teacher?"
"Yeah, my dad runs a foster camp during the summer and I got to teach the art class before…" I said, letting my voice trail off.
"Before?" he asked, questioningly.
"Before I got hurt," I admitted.
"How did you get hurt?" he asked, sounding intrigued.
"It's kind of a long story," I said, wishing I had kept silent, but before I knew it I was spilling out all the sordid details of my disastrous summer. He listened attentively while I talked and I was embarrassed when I finally finished. My diarrhea of the mouth had been getting me in trouble for years. I couldn't believe I was sitting with someone I hardly knew letting it all hang out.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to unload all of that on you," I said, downing the rest of my second beer.
"Sounds intense," he said. "You're like a hero."
"No, I'm not," I scoffed. "I may have saved us, but I didn't save his leg."
"Because you're a medical doctor and you botched his treatment?" Brad said, finishing off the last of his beer.
"No, but I should have gone for help sooner."
"So, those doctors of his told you that if you would have left sooner they could have saved his leg?"
"Well, no," I hedged, getting his point. The guilt I had been harboring for the last two-and-half months shifted a little.
"Have you talked to him since you left? You know, to clear the air?" he asked, using his foot to make the swing move slightly.
"No, I was trying to give him space. Truthfully, I know I'm a dumbass waiting for him to show up, but what we shared in our mock cave seemed so real. Maybe everything was like the cave, nothing but a mockery," I said, waiting for the typical male response.
He surprised me by sighing loudly. "I'm going to want to kick myself later for saying this, but I'm sure he's probably feeling conflicted."
"What do you mean 'conflicted'?"
"Well, no offense, but no dude wants his girl to do the saving, and by what you've said about him, I'm sure his pride took a major smack. Coupled with the fact that now he's a cripple. I'm sure he's hiding out, licking his wounds."
"Don't call him that," I said as anger welled through me at the derogatory comment.
"Look, I'm just stating how I'd feel. You may not think of him as a cripple, but that's how he's viewing himself."
"So, what are you saying?" I asked, surprised.